5 Brands that Upped the Ante at SHOT Show 2017

A key takeaway for buyers attending SHOT Show this year is the acceleration in the volume of new product that’s about to hit the market in 2017. “Knife companies know it is going to be a big year, and they brought everything they’ve got to SHOT Show 2017,” Jason Kunkler, Head Buyer for KnifeCenter.com tells us.

But it was more than just the number of new models on display that got the attention of dealers. Just as impressive were the products themselves. “We saw a lot of clever, good using, and good looking product,” Kunkler says.

2017 was a very strong year of new knives at SHOT Show. But in a battle for dealers’ dollars several brands really raised the bar, upped the ante, pushed the envelope, and surpassed all expectations. Here are our picks for the top 5 knife brands of SHOT Show 2017.

1. Spyderco
2017 is shaping up to be a return to form for the Golden, Colorado knife company. “Spyderco’s lineup looks great starting with the knives they’ve already announced all the way to some surprises we’ve never seen before,” Kunkler says. In addition to its impressive new for 2017 catalog Spyderco brought several surprises to SHOT, including two Compression Lock flippers and a number of other eclectic designs.

Kunkler forecasts that Spyderco is poised to grow its audience behind the strength of the new models. “It was a very ‘Spyderco’ offering and should help them capture more first time Spyderco buyers and get some non-knife people buying knives for the first time.” All the pieces are in place for what has the potential to be the biggest year in the company’s forty-one year history.

Spyderco Q Ball See More

2. Steel Will Knives
Steel Will got its start making fixed blades and has since developed a small line of folders that enjoy a dedicated following. But in October, Director Boris Shehkman told us the company had greater ambitions for 2017 and their new lineup did not go unnoticed. “Steel Will Knives is going to be a major player,” Kunkler says. “They’ve brought it all this year: great designs, EDC assortment that covers a lot of ground, and of course the new Ant-Lock.”

Steel Will Knives F9 See More

3. Kershaw
KAI’s Zero Tolerance brand lived up to sky high expectations, but Kershaw’s line-up exceeded them. “Kershaw brought something for everyone. So many new products, each one offering something different at a wide range of price points,” Kunkler says. The new for 2017 lineup brings a new addition to the popular launch series, two new CQCs, and the news of GTC and Al Mar collaborations. At the Kershaw booth there was plenty of love for the USA-made line as well, with important new models like the Dividend.

Kershaw GTC Malt See More

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4. SOG
SOG really put itself out there this year. The company invented an entirely new line of multitools and reentered domestic manufacturing with a four-knife Made in the USA lineup. The USA knives were on point, and Kunkler anticipates that the Batons will take the mulitool world by storm. “Lines like this that go after a different piece of pocket real estate usually do very well,” he says. “The Batons are a great gadget that I think consumers are really going to like.”

SOG Baton Q3 See More

5. Fox Knives
Fox was gearing up for big things in 2017 and they brought a confident mix of fixed blades and folders with appeal across multiple user groups. Outdoorsmen, LEOs, and urban dwellers looking for their next blade all had something that would delight at the Fox booth. Every piece benefited from the Italian brand’s beautiful design and extreme attention to detail.

FOX FX-529 TUR Fixed Blade See More

Knife featured in image: FOX FX-529 TUR Fixed Blade